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Buffalo River Lodge

Buffalo River Lodge is 2.5 miles from Buffalo River, 20 minutes south of Yellville, Arkansas. Not many towns are nearby, but Nicoleta, one of the property's owners, says it is a place intended for visitors to "be out in nature." The surrounding area is mainly known for the Buffalo River, which was granted national river status in 1972, making it the first national river in the United States. The area is also known for landmarks such as Rush Ghost Town, an abandoned town discovered to be a zinc mine instead of a silver mine during the 1800s. Bull Shoals Lake is another nearby attraction; visitors can jet ski, tube, boat, fish, or swim there. Regarding the property itself, Buffalo River Lodge entails the main lodge comprised of seven units that each include private bathrooms. Five additional cabins can host two to eight people, and the prices of said cabins vary depending on the size of the groups staying in them. The establishment is situated on 64 acres and is surrounded by hills and mountains.


Buffalo River Lodge is in St. Joe, Arkansas, about a mile from Buffalo River, the first national river in the United States. Nicoleta, one of the owners, describes the surrounding area as being "very rural and underdeveloped" as there are not many nearby towns. Instead, the land consists of hills and mountains covered in trees.

The 64-acre property is comprised of the lodge and five additional cabins. The main lodge, or Buffalo River Lodge, is a wood and stone building that can accommodate up to 25 people at a time. It has seven suites, each with private bathrooms. Five of the units are king-sized, while the remaining two are queens. Two of the king rooms—the Lone Star Suite and Santa Fe Suite—can house families; each suite has two twin beds in a "nook" for children in addition to the king bed. Nicoleta explains that these nooks are almost like a house inside the room, which can give children their own space apart from the rest of the suites. The main building of Buffalo River Lodge also includes two separate kitchens, a dining room, a living room with a TV, a wrap-around deck that is 75 feet long on each side, and a game area with air hockey, a pool table, board games, and a vending machine. Furthermore, the lodge offers a pond, outdoor games, and a grill area for picnics, which also comes with a fire pit. Nicoleta says the Buffalo River Lodge is a "good place to host" family reunions, corporate meetings, and groups of people traveling together.

The additional five cabins range in the number of people they can accommodate. For example, The Cabin in the Barn comes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms and is suited for families. Conversely, the Tiny House, Oakwood Cabin, Deer Cabin, and Bear Cabin are for smaller groups. The five cabins each contain laundry rooms, and all of them except Deer Cabin and Bear Cabin have kitchens. Nicoleta describes them as more "budget-friendly." Prices range depending on the size of a given group, and she says they are ideal for people who want to spend more than two nights at Buffalo River Lodge.

 Buffalo River Lodge is close to the Buffalo River, which, according to Nicoleta, has been "the United States' first national river since 1972." Bull Shoals Lake is another notable attraction, and it is a place where visitors can participate in boating, fishing, tubing, and jet-skiing. There are a handful of caverns within a 45-minute drive from Buffalo River Lodge that guests can explore as well. Finally, Rush Ghost Town is an abandoned town that was initially thought to be the site of a silver deposit, but it turned out to be a zinc mine, as mentioned by Nicoleta. Today, it is a common attraction for tourists and visitors to Buffalo River Lodge. Regarding places to eat, Nicoleta recommends patrons try Carolyn's RazorBack Ribs and Skylarks Café.


Nicoleta, one of the owners of Buffalo River Lodge, wants her guests to feel happy while they stay at her property. She explains that she accomplishes this by striving to be friendly to those who visit. She also mentions that she is from Romania and her husband Tony is from Lebanon, which she describes as "countries where people have no problem with being open and social with each other." Nicoleta believes her and Tony's cultures have helped break the ice with their guests and make visitors feel welcome.

When reviewing Buffalo River Lodge, Nicoleta says patrons tend to comment on the cleanliness of the property and the appeal of the surrounding area, saying how much they enjoy the views of the mountains from the back porch. One guest, for instance, said, "My husband and I stayed one night for our anniversary. I was blown away by how beautiful the whole place was, from the lodge to the grounds and view. We kept saying 'it's so pretty' about everything everywhere we went."

Buffalo River Lodge has a few policies in place for visitors to follow. No indoor smoking or ATVs are allowed. Nicoleta also notes that, while guns are permitted on the property, guests should not fire them on the premise. The property is pet-friendly, with the exception of the lodge.

Buffalo River Lodge is open year-round, with its busiest season taking place in June. Many guests also visit in October to see the foliage, and Nicoleta says several people are attracted to the area as it is a "designated dark sky sanctuary." She also says most other properties close during the winter, but Buffalo River Lodge stays open because it has heat, water, and power throughout the year. 


According to Nicoleta's estimate, Buffalo River Lodge was custom-built around twenty years ago. Its first owners ran the property until their retirement and sold it to another couple who operated it as a bed and breakfast for the next few years. Nicoleta and Tony, the current owners, picked up the lodge and reopened it after it had been vacant for two years. They have operated the establishment since 2017. Nicoleta explains that they wanted to have other people staying with them before and during their retirement, although Tony did not initially know what a bed and breakfast was. He researched the topic and happened upon Buffalo River Lodge during his search. Nicoleta affirms that their purchase of the property was a "spur-of-the-moment decision." Her favorite part of the job is interacting with the guests and talking to new people. She says, "they tell you all kinds of stories," and she also recalls that many visitors have invited her and Tony to socialize or have dinner at the other cabins. Beyond this, however, Nicoleta and Tony do their best to give patrons their privacy.

Since owning Buffalo River Lodge, Nicoleta and Tony cleaned the interior and built the five cabins. A few original details from the first owners remain in the lodge, such as the homemade curtains and bed skirts. In the future, Nicoleta and Tony would like to change a few details of their management and integrate more activities into their visitors' stay, such as trips to Rush Ghost Town or Buffalo River.

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215 Stick Horse Dr
St Joe, Arkansas 72687
United States


Bed and Breakfast


Nicoleta and Tony

Owned Since
4.6 (29 Reviews)
4.6/5 29 Reviews
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